Saturday, 15 January 2011

engaging with popular culture: how? part 3

Another question that is helpful to ask of popular culture is 'What has the creator of this pop culture correctly percieved about the world?'. You're asking 'what is true and good here?' You'll find that in most things, there are truths and good things to be found. As mentioned earlier in the series, in creating popular culture people are making an interpretation of the world around them. In his common grace, God leaves signposts to himself and to truth all over creation. Naturally then, though people won't reach the full extent of truth through their interpretation of the world around them, they will pick up and reflect glimmers of truth.

So, when we look at something in pop culture, we should ask things like 'what desires are expressed in this that are good?' Things like a desire for justice, for love, for peace, for relationship, for satisfaction in work etc. are all usually good desires.

'What truth does the creator of this piece of pop culture recognise in the world?' It might be that they see an ache that people have for something - for intimacy, for a sense of meaning, or whatever. Or maybe you'll recognise a dissatisfaction that people get with the world, or perhaps they see something that is good, like love. Often the creator might arrive at the wrong conclusion about the source or reason for or consequence of the truth they've recognised and you'll eventually get to talking about that, but they still might recognise truth: don't miss out the step of affirming and sympathising with this truth. Don't go straight to saying how their worldview doesn't have an explanation for why this is true, or whatever your mind might jump to.

As Christians I think we're generally bad at doing this step. We find the faults with non-Christian interpretations of the world (which we'll do next) or we jump to how it's inconsistent for a person to believe X, given that they believe Y. I think it's important to not do that straight away - take this step of expressing your agreement first.

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